The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport is based on the Boxy Atlas. However, it adopts a more elegant design and loses the third row of seating. The Cross Sport is almost identical to its brother. The powertrain options also remain the same: A 2.0-liter turbocharged 2.0-liter makes 235 horsepower, while an optional 276-hp V-6 makes 3.6-liters. Each comes with an eight speed automatic transmission. Both can be ordered with front- or all-wheel-drive. The Atlas Cross Sport has plenty of cargo and passenger space despite its lower roofline. The Atlas Cross Sport is a well-designed mid-size SUV. However, we believe that it has more appeal than rivals like the Honda Passport or Jeep Grand Cherokee.
What’s new for 2021?
Volkswagen’s midsize, two-row SUV is not set for significant changes in 2021.
Pricing and Which One To Buy
We would spec the SE model, add the optional Technology package which includes automatic climate control and faux-leather upholstery. Passive entry is also available. Heated front seats, power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen. The V-6 would be preferred over the turbocharged four-cylinder. This adds $1400 to your price. We’d choose the $1900 all wheel-drive system. The V-6 Towing package is recommended for Atlas Cross Sport owners who intend to pull anything with it.
Performance, Transmission and Engine
We have tested the only powertrain available, the 3.6-liter V-6 engine with front-wheel drive. It was slightly faster than the comparable three-row Atlas, which achieved a 60-mph speed of 7.5 seconds. Although we haven’t tried the turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder with 235 horsepower, it drove the three-row VW to 60 in just 7.1 seconds. The Cross Sport’s fastback rear end does not make for the most sporty driving experience. The ride quality is not as refined as we expected. The wheels are relentless in their pursuit of every pothole and imperfection.
Fuel Economy and Real World MPG
Four-cylinder Atlas Cross Sport has EPA fuel economy ratings of 21 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg together for front-wheel drive models, and 18, 23 and 20 mpg for all-wheel-drive models. The V-6 engine is more efficient, with ratings of 17 MPG city, 23 MPG highway, and 19 MPG combined for the front-driver. The combined rating of the all-wheel-drive model with six-cylinders is the same, but it returns 16 mpg in cities and 22 on the highway. The front-drive V-6 Atlas Cross Sport managed 25 mpg on our 200-mile highway loop. This is nearly 10% better than the EPA’s estimate.
Interior, Comfort, & Cargo
The interior of the Atlas Cross Sport is very familiar to those who are familiar with the three-row VW, despite the updated steering wheel and stitched doors. The Cross Sport has only one bench in its second row, so adults should be able to find comfortable seats in any of the available rows. Although we are not sure how many carry-on bags will fit into the Cross Sport’s cargo hold, we anticipate that it will offer the same cargo space as the Ford Edge or the Hyundai Santa Fe.
Connectivity and Infotainment
All Atlas Cross Sports include a touchscreen display that allows for both Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration. Navigation is an option, along with a reconfigurable gauge display as well as SiriusXM satellite radio. The VW Car-Net connectivity app is available for remote starting and analytics. A 4G LTE WiFi hotspot allows occupants to stay connected while on the move.